Today the streets of Baltimore told a different story than the one plastered across national airwaves last night. Aiming to fix the damage left by angry protesters, residents came together to rebuild following the fires and riots that raged on Monday night. Although Maryland Governor Larry Hogan cautioned that there would be another “long night ahead,” for a few hours at least there was calm, as those who call the city home worked to put the broken pieces together.
Explained resident Laquicha Harper, “I understand that everybody is upset, I understand that tension is brewing. I’m here, I get it.” She added, “But there are better ways that we can handle our frustration. And they can’t hear us when we’re behaving this way.”
A number of celebrities chimed in including entrepreneur Donald Trump who took to Twitter to state: “Our great African American President hasn’t exactly had a positive impact on the thugs who are so happily and openly destroying Baltimore! Now that the ineffective Baltimore Police have allowed the city to be destroyed, are the U.S. taxpayers expected to rebuild it (again)?”
Many remained divided, as the national debate has once again shifted from the victim to those responding (understandably) in anger to his death. It’s still unclear whether any charges will be brought against the six officers that were suspended for their part in the death of Freddie Gray. The 25-year-old was killed after being subjected to a police tactic known as a “rough ride,” in which suspects are handcuffed but left unbuckled while being transported. After sustaining injuries including severe spinal cord damage and a broken neck, Gray later died after falling into a coma.
Despite calls for peace and even an unlikely truce between gangs in the area, citizens are angry about the perceived use of excessive police force against minorities. Tonight will should reveal whether the addition of 2,000 National Guards and 1,000 police officers will be enough to prevent a repeat of the violence that washed across the city.
President Obama offered his thoughts on the situation: “If we really want to solve the problem, if our society really wanted to solve the problem, we could. It’s just that it would require everyone saying, ‘this is important, this is significant.” He added, “…and we don’t just pay attention when a CVS burns. That’s how I feel.”